||Leaving home was a very
sad time. Many would never return. For those who did, it was often
Crowd at Rotorua Railway Station prior to
departure of troops for active service
from the Great War (World War 1)
New Zealanders enlisted
to go to war.
New Zealanders left
NZ to go to war.
New Zealanders were
killed in action.
New Zealanders died of
New Zealanders died of
New Zealanders died while
training or after discharge.
New Zealanders were held
as prisoners of war.
New Zealanders were wounded.
In the First World War, after the ANZACs
left Gallipoli many of them headed to The Western Front
to fight. The Western Front went from Belgium to Switzerland, with most
of it being in France. The Front was made up of trenches.
A trench is a long ditch, a place for soldiers to shelter from
the bullets. As soldiers moved towards the front line of trenches,
they could feel the earth shake due to the gun fire.
The Germans were also in trenches, sometimes just a few metres
away from our soldiers.
Life in the trenches was very tough
especially in the winter. Sometimes soldiers would have to stand in freezing
water or mud for up to a week.
members of the New Zealand forces tramping through mud and snow at
the front during world War Two
soldier knee deep in a muddy trench
covered battlefields near Hooge, Belgium
It got so cold that when the soldiers woke
up their eyelashes and their lips would be stuck together with
ice. Some soldiers broke their arms or legs
by falling on slippery surfaces. Boiling water would quickly start to
freeze. Soldier's feet would swell because they had been
standing in cold water for a long time. As well as getting very cold,
many ANZACs got very sick because of the terrible conditions
in the trenches. The Germans got cold too. Sometimes they would leave
their trenches so that they could stamp their feet and get some exercise.
When they did this, the Germans and the ANZACs kindly ignored each other
and didn't shoot.
|Barbed wire often covered
the ground between the enemy trenches.
|A World War Two soldier
and barbed wire, in the defended locality of the Western Desert, Egypt
One problem with the trenches was that you
could get shot if you looked over the top. The ANZACs
good ideas for getting around this problem. How
do I make a periscope?
Soldiers had to carry all of their belongings. This was
called their kit. In World War 1 an ANZAC's kit consisted of: his pack, water bottles, a
small shovel, a spare water bottle, ammunition, 2 cotton bags to hold their food (called
rations), 2 empty sand bags, a compass, a map case, plate, knife, fork and spoon, cup,
pocket watch, bandage, and later a gas mask. Each soldier had 2 woollen blankets and of
course a rifle.
|It could take weeks for ships to get home.
Soldiers were usually feeling pretty homesick and looked forward to the first glimpse of
Soldiers on the troopship